“We are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses.” Hebrews 12:1 Who would the could of “witnesses” be? How are we “compassed about”? What has this to do with the 11th chapter which has received so much more attention than this part of the 12th?
Being “compassed about” has been expressed to inform the Christians who were attempting to include the Law of Moses with the Law of Christ by showing them which trials are apart of Christianity! The “witnesses” are definitely not apart of the denomination of the Watch Tower nor the Arian heresy of the second century, they were the soldiers in a spiritual army that had been called to duty, and obeyed the call, even at the expense of their physical life and not complained about it!! Important to remember is that they who are on record in the 11th chapter were they who had no knowledge of the “end.” Without the promise of reward, many will not even dare to enter the fray, yet these (most of these) were not privy to special knowledge or information that would make their decision easier to make! When one knows the reward, it is a lot easier to make the commitment! Trials are apart of every life, faint trials that are considered such, are not considerations, but to be unable to know the results of faithfulness, in order to have faithfulness, makes the trial harder to bear. The Law of Moses was a law of terror, not of hope. To despise the penalties imposed in proportion to the greater privileges offered, makes our decision so much easier than the heroes mentioned in Hebrews 11. The “numberless cloud“ are the “unknown.” Their testimony defies determined response based on stimuli. The witnesses, Greek word martus, are first spectators. Next, they are those who after His example have prove the strength and genuineness of their faith in Christ by undergoing a violent death, they are martyrs. They who are witnessed now have become witnesses to the faithfulness of God to His people, for He has prepared for them a Home!! “That you be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” Hebrews 6:12
In Rome, the spectators gave additional spirit to the combatants, so the “cloud of witnesses” who have themselves been in the same contest, increased in earnestness, due to God’s faithfulness. They, who had gone through the same combat, could fortify the courage and industry of we who have yet to enter that arena. By the fact they still are testifying, they instill and encourage our strength that might have been mutating a little to stand even stronger. Some had won the battle and testified of the faithfulness of God standing by them in the hour of deepest trial!! “At my first answer no man stood with me, but all men forsook me. I pray God that it may not be laid to their charge. Notwithstanding, the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me, that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.” 2 Timothy 4:16-17 This extraordinary wisdom and courage, to enable Paul to speak so much the better himself when nobody else would defend him, shows how “God caused His face to shine upon him.“ What a favor and privilege to be put into such a position to receive such a blessing. Wonder if Paul would have traded this privilege for anything the world would have offered?? The “privilege”? What meant more to Paul than the “preaching of the gospel”? Answer: nothing!! If front of whom was Paul able to present Jesus Christ that no other man alive had had the opportunity?? NERO. Nero was the lion! For this, Paul by inspiration reasoned, if he could escape Nero and his might from what was it that God could not deliver him? “Oh death, where is thy sting? Oh grave, where is thy victory?” When God quits delivering, our work is over!! Matthew 11:1-7. Guess John had this rule down pretty well!! Former deliverences provide future hope!! We are in a Heavenly kingdom and the Lord will preserve His faithful for His greater good. We ought to give God the glory of all past, present, and future deliverances: “To whom be glory for ever and ever more, Amen.”
I have to put this in for future references: Paul in 2 Timothy left Trophimus at Miletus, sick. This will mess up the Pentecostals and Healers, won’t it?? Though the apostles healed all manner of diseases miraculously, only for confirmation of the gospel, they did not have permission to exert such power on their friends and associates for personnel gain!! Jesus did not get John the Baptist out of jail, either!! Maybe we blame God when in fact, He has given us a privilege. We just don’t recognize it!!